OGDEN — With a wire-to-wire Wildcats victory, there wasn’t any doubt what the final result would be.
It was just a matter of what path Weber State would take to get there.
The Wildcats led by as many as 37 points in defeating Division II Western State 82-56 in WSU’s only exhibition of the season Monday at the Dee Events Center.
Playing for the first time in years without long time stalwarts Damian Lillard, Kyle Bullinger and Darin Mahoney on the bench, Weber State introduced several new faces seeing their first official action against an opponent, though Monday’s exhibition contest was essentially an extended practice against the significantly overmatched Mountaineers.
The Wildcats opened with a 20-4 charge, led by as many as 28 in the first half and was never seriously challenged by Division II school Western State, which is located in Gunnison, Colo., and competes in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
The Mountaineers lost to Westminster College 95-53 in Salt Lake City last Saturday.
Seventh-year Weber State coach Randy Rahe opened with a starting lineup of Jordan Richardson, Scott Bamforth, Davion Berry, Frank Otis and Kyle Tresnak.
Berry, a junior transfer from Cal State Monterey Bay, led Weber State with 15 points. Tresnak added 12 points, Otis had 10 points and eight rebounds, Bamforth scored 11 and Gelaun Wheelwright came off the bench to contribute 10.
“What we were trying to accomplish was to just go out there and play every possession hard and execute, get all of our young guys into the feel of the game,” Otis said. “I think we accomplished that. Coach was pretty satisfied.”
Otis said the Wildcats improved from their preseason Purple and White scrimmage Oct. 24.
“We made a big improvement as far as execution-wise,” he said. “We trusted our offense and didn’t break out of it to do our own thing,” he said.
Weber State shot 50.8 percent from the field and hit 14 of 30 from beyond the arc (46.7 percent).
Rahe said he was looking for defensive intensity and urgency.
“Overall, I was fairly pleased defensively,” he said. “Early in the second half, we didn’t play with a lot of urgency and a lot of intensity, we let them get going a little bit, but overall, I think we’re making progress. We’re a long, long, long ways away.”
Rahe is looking to employ a more aggressive defensive style than the Wildcats have used in the past few years.
“We just want to pressure a little bit more, keep the ball out of the middle a little better than we did last year. We just want to be a little more aggressive — nothing crazy.
“I saw that really in the first half. I liked how we defended in the first half, I thought we were playing together defensively, helping each other out. We played with pretty good purpose, but like always, we probably saw about 20 minutes of good defense. It’s early season. You want it all right now, but you’re not going to have it all right now, so we’ve got to keep putting together longer stretches defensively.”
Western State’s Terrence Boyd led all scorers Monday with 18 points and Charles Joseph added 15 as the only Mountaineers in double figures while Weber State held Western State to 34.0 percent shooting, and 1 of 7 from 3-point range.
Sophomore transfers Royce Williams, a 6-5 guard/forward from New Mexico Military Institute, and 6-2 guard Wayne Bradford made their first appearances, as did Weber State’s pair of Texas freshmen forwards, 6-foot-9 Joel Bolomboy and 6-7 Kyndahl Hill.
Williams had six points and four assists, Bolomboy had nine points and grabbed six rebounds while Bradford and Hill did not score.
Weber State opens the regular season Friday with a contest against NAIA school Arizona Christian.
• WSU WOMEN SPARKLE: The Wildcats finished out their exhibition season with an 84-44 win over the visiting Adams State Grizzlies early Monday at the Dee Events Center.
Freshman guard Regina Okoye led all scorers with 20 points. Junior guard Laura Palmere added 12 points for the Wildcats in the win.
Freshman forward Jalen Carpenter and freshman center Tinisha Toussaint led the Wildcats with seven rebounds each, but the Grizzlies outrebounded Weber State by a 34-32 margin.
Adams State junior forward Tessie Pikula led all rebounders with eight.
The game was the final exhibition game of the season in preparation for the regular season, which begins on Friday afternoon when theWildcats travel to Provo to take on BYU at 3 p.m.